A CELEBRATION of sweet peas drew record crowds to Mirfield when organisers paired up regional championships with a festival for the whole town.
St Paul’s Church was packed with fragrant displays on Saturday as it played host to the 13th Yorkshire Sweet Pea Championships and the first Mirfield Sweet Pea Festival.
Yorkshire Sweet Pea Society secretary Darren Myers said support for the two events had been fantastic.
“It’s hard to gauge visitor numbers because we’ve always had free admission but we think we had more people in the first hour than in the previous five years put together,” he said. “Given that it’s the first time that we’ve pushed the festival side and been in the new venue, it’s nice to have it pay off.”
The championship event featured six bowls and 163 vases of sweet peas entered by growers in 38 different classes. They also competed for 16 trophies awarded annually by the society.
Mr Myers said: “We were very pleased with how things went this year. One of the growers from Derby who came won the southern regional championships just over a fortnight ago and we hope that because one or two of these growers are coming now we’ll attract more in the future.”
He said the craft stalls, sweet pea advice stand and local competitions held for the festival had fit in well.
He added: “We had four schools entering a special class this year. It was a chance to get them involved with growing and showing.”
The winning school was Crossley Fields Junior and Infant School, while the prize for the best decorated shop window went to gift shop Oops A Daisy.
Mr Myers said: “We’re really grateful to the town for supporting us, and to the council and Eastthorpe Hall for sponsoring us. I hope that next year we’ll get more people involved not that they’ve seen what it’s all about.”
The Sweet Pea Championship trophy winners were:
YSPS Shield – best Vase in Division 1 – Andy Hubbuck Bill Ellis Shield – best Vase in Division 2 – Bryan Jepson The Secretary’s Trophy – best exhibit in Division 2 – Ian Myers George Gaddas Memorial Trophy – best Vase in Division 3 – David Brook Gary Hammerton Trophy – best exhibit in Division 3 – David Brook Allan Swallow Shield – best Vase in Division 4 – John Smiles Peter Whithead Memorial Trophy – best exhibit in Division 4 – Adele Brook The Ridings Trophy – best vase in Division 5 – Joan Myers The Chairman’s Trophy – best exhibit in Division 5 – Olive Peel The Prendergast Trophy – winner of Special Class A – Alec Cave Carol Bebbington Bowl – best exhibit in Special Class B – Adele Brook G W Priestley Memorial Award -winner of Special Class C – Ian Myers Clive Turton Trophy – winner of Special Class D - Ian Myers N.S.P.S Bronze medal - best exhibit in show – Darren Myers Mary Priestley Trophy for the best vase in show – Andy Hubbuck